Weak spectral features on (101995) Bennu from the OSIRIS-REx Visible and InfraRed Spectrometer

A. A. Simon, H. H. Kaplan, E. Cloutis, V. E. Hamilton, C. Lantz, D. C. Reuter, D. Trang, S. Fornasier, B. E. Clark, D. S. Lauretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Context. The NASA Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has obtained thousands of spectra of asteroid (101955) Bennu with the OSIRIS-REx Visible and InfraRed Spectrometer. Aims. We present a spectral search for minor absorption bands and determine compositional variations on the surface of Bennu. Methods. Reflectance spectra with low and high spatial resolutions were analyzed for evidence of weak absorption bands. Spectra were also divided by a global average spectrum to isolate unique spectral features, and variations in the strongest band depths were mapped on a surface shape model. The global visible to near-IR spectrum of Bennu shows evidence of several weak absorption bands with depths of a few percent. Results. Several observed bands are consistent with phyllosilicates, and their distribution correlates with the stronger 2.74-μm hydration band. A 0.55-μm band is consistent with iron oxides and is deepest in the spectrally reddest areas on Bennu. The presence of hydrated phyllosilicates and iron oxides indicates substantial aqueous alteration in Bennu's past. Conclusions. Bennu's spectra are not identical to a limited set of carbonaceous chondrite spectra, possibly due to compositional properties and spatial scale differences; however, returned samples should contain a mixture of common chondrite materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA148
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Minor planets, asteroids: individual: (101955) Bennu
  • Planets and satellites: composition
  • Techniques: Spectroscopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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